Boeing is having to once again delay its delivery of 737 MAX jets to China Southern Airlines, among other Chinese carriers with outstanding orders, following an investigation by U.S. regulators of the planes, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The planes were set to be delivered as early as this January, but now the Chinese airline is delaying the shipment to inspect the planes, being in the same jet family as the Alaska Airlines flight that had a side window panel blow off mid-flight in early January, prompting an emergency landing and leading to multiple injuries, according to the WSJ. The deliveries have already been delayed for years by Chinese regulators following two fatal crashes of Boeing’s 737 MAX 8.
Boeing has long since tried to capitalize on the Chinese plane market, with the company estimating that the country will account for around 20% of the world’s airplane purchases over the next 20 years, according to the WSJ. The plane manufacturer has also faced headwinds from poor economic and political relations between the U.S. and China, which President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping tried to ease in November with a bilateral meeting.
Chinese regulators have so far not said anything about the Alaska Airlines incident, waiting for the U.S. to conclude its investigations, according to the WSJ. China has been slow to grant regulatory approval to Boeing planes over the past few years, stoking fears that further regulatory action could be taken against the jet manufacturer, which could dash dreams of expanding in the Chinese market.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily grounded over a hundred Boeing 727 MAX 9 planes worldwide the day following the incident, ordering airlines to inspect their own fleets. United Airlines, in its own inspections of Boeing aircraft, found loose bolts on at least five of its planes.
The FAA has since launched a probe into Boeing over whether it failed to deliver its products in a safe condition for flight and if the sold aircraft conformed with the designs that the FAA had previously approved.
Passengers of the Alaska Airlines flight launched a lawsuit against Boeing on Thursday, claiming emotional and physical trauma after the left-door plug broke off and depressurized the cabin. The plaintiffs allege that the company failed to ensure safety when designing and constructing the aircraft.
Boeing and China Southern Airlines did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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